health care

Hennen: Don’t limit options for affordable health insurance – InForum

In my world, I regularly hear about how to keep health care affordable, especially health insurance. My audience talks about it. Families struggling to make ends meet talk about it, too. That’s why a bill being considered in the North Dakota Legislature, HB 1416, caught my interest.

The verbiage from the bill says it’s “a bill relating to freedom of choice for health care services.” And it was repeated: “Be it enacted by the legislative assembly of North Dakota… freedom of choice for health care services.” That’s the fancy description. For me, it’s exactly the opposite. It’s removing a choice that allows consumers to save money on health insurance. That is a bad idea.

HB 1416 would allow any health care provider to join an insurance company’s narrow network, which is an important health insurance option for cost-conscious consumers who choose to see fewer providers but pay a significantly lower monthly bill.

Proponents — who have peddled their opinions on the editorial pages — have claimed this legislation will provide “freedom of choice for health care services,” allowing patients more choice when selecting their health care providers. That’s just wrong. In reality, patients already make that choice when they select their health insurance plan. What HB 1416 does is the opposite of choice; it eliminates an affordable health insurance option.

Health insurance companies use different networks, or groups of health care providers, to give consumers options. A broad network plan consists of nearly all providers within a service area. These plans are more expensive. A narrow network plan, however, consists of fewer providers who have agreed to a reduced contracted rate in exchange for an anticipated increase in patient volume. These plans are about 20% more affordable than broad network plans. Yes, 20%!

Take our company, Flag Family Media, as

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Shannen Doherty calls on Fran Drescher to fix SAG-AFTRA health care rules after losing insurance

Shannen Doherty is calling on SAG-AFTRA president Fran Drescher to amend the union’s health care rules after losing her insurance coverage.

the Beverly Hills, 90210 star, who has stage 4 cancer, tagged Dresser in an Instagram post Thursday and wrote, “im curious for people like me who have worked since they were 10 and paid dues to @sagaftra how when we aren’t able to work for health reasons, why our union abandons us?”

Doherty, 51, continued: “I think we can do better for all our members and I think you’re the person to do it. Health insurance shouldn’t be based on annual income. It’s a lifetime contribution. And for me and many others , we have paid a lifetime of dues to only be canceled because we don’t meet your current criteria. Not ok.”

EW has reached out to representatives for Drescher and SAG-AFTRA for comments.

Shannen Doherty and Fran Drescher

Shannen Doherty and Fran Drescher

Neilson Barnard/Getty Images; Amy Sussman/Getty Images Shannen Doherty and Fran Drescher

Doherty was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 2015. She underwent a single mastectomy as well as chemotherapy and radiation treatment, and her cancer went into remission in 2017. But in 2020 the actress revealed that the cancer had returned and spread it to other parts of her body. Doherty told Elle that year that she had “a lot of life in me” and planned to live “another 10 or 15 years.”

Dresser, known for playing the title role on the ’90s sitcom The Nannywas elected president of SAG-AFTRA, the union for actors and media professionals, in 2021, defeating Matthew Modine and succeeding Doherty’s 90210 costar Gabrielle Carteris. Dresser recently made headlines when she told EW and PEOPLE at the SAG Awards that Barbra Streisand (an idol to her nannies character) health-insurance-sag-awards-2023/” data-ylk=”slk:also called her up

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Retirees in China hold rare protests against health insurance reforms : NPR

Demonstrators gather outside Zhongshan Park in Wuhan, China, to protest changes to medical benefits, on Wednesday, in this still image from social media video obtained by Reuters.

Social media via Reuters

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Social media via Reuters

Demonstrators gather outside Zhongshan Park in Wuhan, China, to protest changes to medical benefits, on Wednesday, in this still image from social media video obtained by Reuters.

Social media via Reuters

TAIPEI, Taiwan — Retirees have taken to the streets in two cities in China in recent days in rare protests against the most significant health care reforms in over two decades.

Largely older Chinese retired turned out at least in the hundreds in the cities of Wuhan and Dalian, singing socialist anthems and even some shoving up against the police, according to social media footage from the protests.

They were demonstrating against changes to medical insurance, ushered in as local governments struggled to repay mounting debts in the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

Most Chinese citizens draw medical insurance coverage from two sources: a public insurance fund and a mandatory, employer-sponsored personal health savings plan that employees and employers contribute to each month.

The reforms are intended to cover public health shortfalls. They could also free up subsidies for doctor’s visits for people with less money in their health savings accounts. But reimbursement will go down for some outpatient costs, like certain medicines.

The changes are being rolled out nationwide as China tries to recover from three years of COVID-19 controls, mass testing and other measures that strained and indebted local governments. Chinese leader Xi Jinping only recently lifted the stringent “zero COVID” policies in December.

In the last year alone, Chinese provinces werereported to have spent at least $50 billion on COVID-19 containment, like testing and quarantine facilities.

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300,000 Oregonians at risk of losing state health insurance. Here’s why.

An estimated 300,000 Oregonians could lose state health insurance in the next 16 months because they no longer qualify for state coverage made more widely available during the COVID-19 pandemic.

All approximately 1.5 million people receiving coverage through the state will soon need to be financially eligible for the program to keep their state health insurance, following a three-year federal reprieve from normal requirements due to the pandemic.

That reprieve is soon coming to an end, giving state officials just over a year to make sure everyone who qualifies for coverage keeps it.

“Our real goal is to make sure that we preserve all the benefits that we can,” interim Oregon Health Authority director James Schroeder said in a presentation to lawmakers Tuesday. “But at the end of the day, people are either going to be eligible or not.”

Under federal rules put in place soon after the pandemic started, Oregonians did not have to prove financial hardship or work status in order to qualify for Medicaid coverage, which in Oregon is called the Oregon Health Plan. Coverage expanded dramatically in the last three years, from about 1,080,000 Oregonians before the pandemic to about 1,470,000 today, according to state data.

But on April 1, Oregon will start a 14-month process to verify that people do not make too much money to qualify for the low-income health insurance program and meet other requirements. The state will follow up with those who no longer qualify to help them transition to coverage through the health insurance marketplace, officials said.

The Oregon Department of Human Services, which is responsible for checking eligibility for its own programs and for the health authority, called the volume of work ahead “historic.”

“We are serving the highest caseload we’ve ever had in the history of our

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How health insurance may have made health care more expensive

Widespread medical debt is a uniquely American problem. Roughly 40% of US adults have at least $250 in medical debt, according to a survey conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation.

“The history of medical debt is basically a history of the changing answer to the following question: When the patient can’t pay the bill, who foots it?” said Dr. Luke Messac, an emergency physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston who is writing a book about the history of medical debt.

As health-care prices rose over the past fifty years, patients were being asked to pay more out of pocket when they received care.

There are many complicated reasons for the rise in the cost of care such as not prioritizing preventive care or a lack of price transparencybut one of the biggest catalysts for inflation was the rise of health insurance.

“It was when you get this third-party payer system where the patient doesn’t have to pay all of the cost of it directly, the insurer pays a chunk of it,” said. Dr. Peter Kongstvedt, a senior health policy faculty member at George Mason University. “That gives you relentless upward pressure on pricing, because if you’re going to get paid, why not get paid some more?”

In the early 2000s, federal legislation led to a major restructuring of how insurance plans shared costs, with the 2003 Medicare Modernization Act spurring a boom in high-deductible health insurance plans.

A deductible is the amount a policyholder has to pay upfront before their health insurance plan kicks in. The average deductible for an individual in 2022 is around $1,760which is double what it was in 2006 when adjusted for inflation.

Roughly 70% of lower-income adults said they wouldn’t be able to afford a $500 unexpected medical bill. Nearly

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Attorney General sues northern NM hospital

Alta Vista Regional Hospital

Copyright © 2022 Albuquerque Journal

The Alta Vista Regional Hospital serving the communities of rural northern New Mexico advertises services it cannot provide – or at least cannot safely provide – charges exorbitant prices and aggressively pursues patients who cannot pay, according to a lawsuit filed by the state Attorney General’s Office against the facility and its parent company the Quorum Health Corp.

The suit, filed in the 4th Judicial District Court in San Miguel County on Thursday, alleges violations of the Unfair Practices Act, namely misleading or false advertising and unconscionable trade practices.

It asks for preliminary and permanent injunctions barring the hospital from advertising services it does not provide and from “engaging in unconscionable billing practices.” It also asks for civil penalties, restitution and any further relief.

In response to a request for comment about the allegations, a hospital representative said that it has remained committed to the Las Vegas community throughout the pandemic, wildfires and flooding and a national health care workforce shortage.

“We live here, work here, and volunteer here, so we agree that our hospital is important for the wellbeing of our community,” marketing consultant Jessica Kendrick wrote in a statement. “We are disappointed that the Attorney General’s Office did not reach out to us to discuss these claims prior to filing.”

She added that the New Mexico Department of Health conducted a facility survey in October 2022 and found the hospital in “substantial compliance.”

“We would also review our advertising and available services, as well as the fact that nearly all of our patients are covered by Medicare, Medicaid or private insurance with established rates,” Kendrick said. “Additionally, to help make health care more affordable, the hospital has programs with significant discounts to help uninsured individuals.”

The lawsuit paints a

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Colorado’s Psychedelics Legal Scenario: Insurance & State Aid, Advisory Board And Local Regulations

Part three of three-part series.

See previous stories:

Colorado’s New Psychedelics Regulations: Co-Author Of The Bill Replies To Concerns

Millennials Tipped The Scales In Colorado Voting, And Psychedelic Laws Are In Their Crosshairs

Expert lawyer and Prop. 122’s drafter and co-writer Joshua Kappel explained how the state will address equitable access is yet to be determined.

“One of the requirements the expert takes on the advisory board is around the health insurance policy. And there is a mandate that mental health services otherwise covered under Colorado’s health insurance programs would not be denied coverage if psilocybin were involved at some point in those services. So there is some idea that if your mental health services are covered, then the state insurance company won’t be required to repay for psilocybin,” Kappel said in an exclusive interview with Benzinga.

Besides the measure’s provisions around equitable access, there is an additional mandate for the advisory board to put together a report analyzing the insurance coverage issue, characterized by the current reality’s fact that psychedelics are illegal under federal law, and that might remain that way.

As Kappel explained, the proposal supports the “all-paths” approach. For example, companies like COMPASS Pathways (NASDAQ:CMPS) are moving forward at the federal level with different psilocybin products, “and once those get FDA approval, then we’ll most likely see insurance coverage.”

But there is yet another issue to unpack: Colorado’s state model isn’t a medicalized model but rather a therapeutic one.

“I think at the state level we’re trying to create state-based solutions to address the costs of these services. This state-based therapeutic model doesn’t have the same benefits as insurance coverage at the federal level, but it has a lot of other benefits including outside of the purely medicalized model, like using psilocybin for personal growth and

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Hennepin County attorney, inflation, health care, Mississippi River

Opinion editor’s note: Star Tribune Opinion publishes letters from readers online and in print each day. To contribute, click here.


In Mark Osler’s commentary endorsing Mary Moriarty for Hennepin County attorney (“Moriarty brings hope, not fear, to prosecutor’s role,” Opinion Exchange, Oct. 19), he cites his work with HEALS 2.0, the task force focused on reducing violent crime convened by Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman. We also serve on HEALS 2.0 and, like Mark Osler, we are proud to see our work to reduce violent crime starting to pay off. Homicides and shots fired in Minneapolis are both down slightly from the record-high we saw in 2021, and we are heading in a good direction. That work would be impossible without coordination between justice partners and law enforcement on the city, county, state and federal levels.

Moriarty’s positions on policing, prosecution and her inability to work productively with justice partners to improve overall community safety in her previous role as a public defender makes her the less-than-ideal candidate for Hennepin County attorney if we want to continue to reduce violent crime .

Moriarty has said she would not charge gun and drug cases that result from traffic stops. From our conversations with the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office, traffic stops focused on gang hot spots are responsible for the majority of the illegal guns that we are removing from the streets. It is critical that we have a county attorney who will prosecute these cases. Further, Moriarty stated in 2021 reasons that she did not believe the Minneapolis Police Department needed more officers, despite it having one of the lowest per capita staffing levels of any city in the country. Her opponent, Martha Holton Dimick, has a balanced approach that emphasizes reform, adequate police staffing and effective prosecution. For

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Many Americans can’t afford health costs even with insurance

By Michael Ollove | (TNS)

BALTIMORE — The number of Americans with health insurance has climbed to historic highs during the COVID-19 pandemic, but within that silver lining is a darker hue.

Many Americans have policies that only provide limited financial protection, to the point that many patients report forgoing needed medical care or prescriptions to avoid being hit with punishing out-of-pocket costs.

Those are some of the findings from a new health insurance survey conducted by the Commonwealth Fund, a private research foundation that promotes high-quality, equitable health care.

The survey comes on the heels of other health insurance data, including some released by the US Census Bureau from its annual American Community Survey, attesting that certain pandemic measures, particularly those Congress passed, have ushered more people into health insurance than ever before.

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Andrea Campbell for attorney general

The next state attorney general will step in to lead the nationally respected office amid a host of urgent challenges: an increasing unreliable public transit system woefully lacking in accountability; criminal justice and correction institutions in direct need of reform; and a Supreme Court intent on tying the hands of state officials’ efforts to curb gun violence and protect reproductive rights, just to name a few.

That’s on top of the rest of the attorney general’s responsibilities, which range from watchdogging the health care system to rooting out public corruption.

Democratic primary voters have a choice between three candidates who offer different, if at times overlapping, visions of how to tackle these and other issues as the Commonwealth’s top attorney. But Andrea Campbell has proven herself to be the best among the choices. She has the Globe’s enthusiastic endorsement in the Sept. 6 primaries.

A Princeton-educated former Boston city councilor, Campbell’s personal experience, her track record for taking on institutions like the Boston Police and Fire Departments, and her thoughtful and innovative vision to make the attorney general’s office more responsive to and protective of residents across the entirety of Commonwealth, make her stand out. She has demonstrated carefully considered plans about not only what she would do in the office, but also how the office itself can be transformed in order to be a more effective and responsive organization in tune with the interests of the state’s residents.

One of the areas where her focus on increased transparency and accountability is most needed is the state Department of Correction, which she correctly describes as a “black hole” of opacity.

Her commitment to address misconduct within the agency — including her willingness to take the unusual position

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